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A County’s Emergency Plan on News Propaganda Work for Sudden Incidents

On November 27, an explosion occurred at Lianhua Science and Technology Inc. of Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province, causing dozens of deaths. Overseas Chinese language media reported that the Yancheng City’s Propaganda Department of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) committee and the Xiangshui County Propaganda Department of the CCP committee rapidly reacted to this accident according to their “Emergency Plan on News Propaganda Work for Sudden Incidents” and tried their best to cover the truth.[1] They successfully blocked 21 national and local media agencies and over 69 reporters from reporting the accident by means of bribery including sending prostitutes to reporters. Recently, a working report on handling this accident from the Xiangshui County Propaganda Department of the CCP committee was widely spread on the Internet, detailing how a local government in China attempted to control the media exposure of the incident. [2] Although this report was nowhere to be found on Xiangshui County’s official website, it was very consistent with Xiangshui County’s report in its CCP Construction Work Meeting in February 2007. [3] The February report stated that “[we] need to work closely with the county’s Party committee and government, carefully do well on guiding news reporting, strengthening public opinion management, making sure that the news and public opinion are in line with the county’s Party committee and government …[we] need to maintain the system of regular press briefings and news reviews, improve the quality of media work … [we] need to strengthen and improve coordination with media, learn to deal with different kinds of media, improve communications, gain understandings, dissolve negative reports, and maintain Xiangshui County’s good image.” Below is the translation of the full working report spread on the Internet.

“Calmly Face the Sudden Incident and Put in All-out Effort to Guide the Media”
—Key Practices in Media Coordination Work of the “11.27” Accident in Xiangshui County

by Xiangshui County CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department (December 24, 2007)

On November 27, an explosion occurred at Lianhua Science and Technology Inc. in Huagongjizhong District of Chenjiagang in Xiangshui County. After the accident, we rapidly reacted according to the “Emergency Plan on News Propaganda Work for Sudden Incidents.” With the city (Yancheng) and county leaders’ personal cares and inquiries, under the leadership of the city and county’s Incident Handling Headquarters, and the direct guidance of the city’s CCP committee’s Propaganda Department and the city’s Media Research and Coordination Team, we began the all-around media agencies’ reception and coordination work. Within a dozen days after the accident, we welcomed and accepted 69 journalists with 21 news agencies, including the Xinhua News Agency, China Youth Daily, China News Services, Xinhua Daily, Jiangsu Legal News, Yangtse Evening Post, CCTV Digital Channel “Safety Online” program, and Jiangsu TV Station. Because of our fast reaction, good strategy, and coordination, especially with the huge support from the city’s major media, the overall coordination work went smoothly and steadily. The media coverage was dominated by positive reports, with rumors suppressed and social stability maintained. Our major practices are the following:
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1. Achieve Three “Firsts” to Gain the Initiative on News Coordination

The coordination staff arrived at the accident scene the First time. The “11.27” accident happened around 10:11 a.m. After we were notified, we arrived at the scene around 11:00 a.m. After initial assessment of the situation, we predicted that a lot of media and reporters would come. We immediately decided to set up a temporary reporter reception desk in the meeting room of the Huagongjizhong District’s Management Committee and a news reporter reception in the Five Continent Hotel, so that we could arrange reporters’ board and lodging in a centralized way. The whole staff in the department was mobilized and we transferred 30+ personnel from the Radio and Television Bureau, News Information Center, and other county government agencies to participate in the coordination work. At the same time, we clearly assigned four deputy chiefs of the Propaganda Department to lead four groups to be responsible for the accident scene, treatment location, reporter reception, and service work, respectively.

Receive the reporters in the First time. Whenever a reporter was found to come to Xiangshui County, he/she was first identified, then sent to the Five Continent Hotel for lodging. Every day, we collected the information on newly arrived reporters and reported to the headquarters. We also requested that headquarters tightly control the accident scene and not to allow any reporters entering for interviews or photographs without permission. In the meantime, we also requested the police to check all hotels in Xiangshui County and Chengjiagang and report to us if any reporters checked in. We treated all the reporters in Xiangshui County equally, and treated them as friends with sincerity. We were concerned about their living condition and cooperated with them on their work. We tried to satisfy all their proper requests to gain their understanding, cooperation, and support. Deng Hualin, a reporter from Xinhua News Agency, had to go back to Nanjing City, and we arranged for designated staff and a car to serve him throughout the whole trip. When he arrived, we communicated with him and persuaded him to cancel his second trip for an interview at Xiangshui County. Three days after the accident, three producers from CCTV “Safety Online” program came to Xiangshui County and checked into Xiangshui Hotel without notifying us. They were preparing to do interviews and planned to produce an education program to be broadcast on the CCTV digital channel. After we received the report, we immediately arrived at the hotel and managed to move them to the arranged reception hotel. At the same time, we arranged five staff members and a designated car to follow and serve them. We accompanied them around the clock and successfully blocked them from interviewing people four times. Finally, they had to give up their interview plan. When they decided to go back to Beijing, we sent a car to drive them to Lianyungang City and sent them to board their train.

Provide the news release to media in the First time. During the accident reporting process, the most terrifying thing was not reporters’ sending out their news report quickly, it was that they reported the news with information not provided by the government. Whoever sent out the news in the first place would control the initiative on media report and accident processing. Generally speaking, the first 24 hours after the accident was the critical time frame. In today’s world with the information explosion, delaying reporting would lose the public’s trust in the government. Therefore, with the consent from the headquarters, around 5 p.m. on the same day of the accident, we provided the media with a written news release in the meeting room of the Huagongjizhong District’s Management Committee, and publicized a preliminary report of the explosion. At around 11 a.m. of the 28th, we held a second press conference in the Five Continent Hotel and publicized the progress on the accident investigation; at around 5:30 p.m. on the 29th, we held a third press conference in the Five Continent Hotel and achieved the predicted results. The reporters were satisfied.
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2. Keep Three “Combines” to Create an Advantage for News Coordination Work

Combine persuading and dissolving. On the accident scene, our staff and the comrades from the Huagongjizhong District worked together. They patrolled around the clock and guarded the place tightly in order to prevent reporters from entering for interviews without permission. During that time, there were three attempts of reporters trying to climb over the wall and get in for interviews. The patrol staff discovered them in time and persuaded them to leave the scene. At around 6:30 p.m. on the same day of the accident, two groups of reporters were spotted right after they arrived at the scene and they were nicely asked to go back to the Five Continents Hotel.

In the County People’s Hospital where the casualties were treated, in order to provide a peaceful treatment environment, we insisted on disallowing the reporters to enter the treatment area to interview. Once reporters were found, we actively went to talk to them and explained the situation, and sent them to the reporter reception location.

Besides persuading and blocking, we also emphasized dissolving work. Every day, we updated the headquarters on the reporters’ situation. We also timely suggested providing information to the reporters through arranged press conference and news reports, and actively tried to communicate with them better. From the accident day until the day that things calmed down, we had requested the headquarters to arrange three press conferences, where questions, such as the cause of the accident and the identities of the victims, asked by reporters from the Xinhua News Agency and China Youth Daily, were answered. This promptly solved their puzzles and gained good results.

Combine treating media equally and giving special care to important media. We treated all the media agencies equally, but with difference. For important media, we treated them with importance; for ordinary media, we treated them ordinarily. The Xinhua News Agency is our government’s official news agency and has a big influence over other media. They are treated as the most important one among the important ones. We arranged one deputy chief of the Department to accompany Xinhua reporters on a 24/7 basis and served them all along, so as to know their interview plan right away. The reporters Deng Hualin and Liu Zhaoquan had requested repeatedly to go to the accident scene after we provided them with the news report. They even broke the staff’s blockades twice. After carefully considering the situation, the headquarters agreed. On the morning of November 29, we went with them. They took pictures, published two photos, testing the air and part of the accident scene. They objectively reported the appropriate handling of the accident. Many websites immediately carried their articles. This became the mainstream voice on the accident and eliminated the extreme actions from the reporters of the China Youth Daily, Life Week magazine, and a few others influenced by rumors. Finally, most of the reporters obeyed and cooperated with the news coordination arrangements.
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Combine the work in centralized and decentralized way. During our work, on one hand, we concentrated on the reporters’ reception and the news coordination work, on the other, headquarters required the Huagongjizhong District, the County People’s Hospital, the mortuary, Lianhua Science and Technology Inc., the police, the Safety Administration Bureau, the Environment Bureau, and the taxi companies to actively participate and cooperate with the news coordination work besides their own duties and keep their eyes closely on the reporters and report their whereabouts. No entity or individual was allowed to be interviewed without headquarters’ permission. On the evening of November 27, 2007, when the reporters from the Xinhua News Agency Jiangsu Province Branch forcefully went to do an interview in the County People Hospital, the hospital staff refused their requests by taking the whole situation into account. They didn’t allow the reporters to enter the patients’ rooms. When the reporters insisted, they contacted the hospital leaders and kept the reporters out of the patients’ rooms with the excuse of medical treatments. On the morning of December 5, 2008, three reporters from CCTV’s “Safety Online” program took a taxi from the Wenhua Taxi Company to go to Shadang Village, Chenjiagang to interview. They requested the taxi driver to turn off his cell phone. Under such circumstance, the driver borrowed other people’s cell phone and reported them to the headquarters while they weren’t paying attention. He provided very important clues and successfully prevented their interview activity.

During the reception process, we discovered that there were pros and cons to treating all reporters in one place. It was easier to control them, but the reporters could work together and communicated between them, which caused many disadvantages on news coordination work. To solve this problem, we combined the work in a centralized and decentralized way. One reporter from China Youth Daily had been not cooperative since arriving at Xiangshui County. He strongly requested many times to interview at the accident scene. On November 27, 2007, after we found out that he contacted the reporters from Xinghua News Agency, we immediately reacted by moving him to the Xiangshui Hilton Hotel. At the same time, a deputy chief with three staff from the Propaganda Department were assigned to watch him around clock. At 5 a.m. on November 28, 2007, this reported tried to sneak out of the hotel but was caught by our staff who blocked him on time.

3. Search for Three “Supports” to Provide a Strong Safeguard on News Coordination Work

Search for the support from higher-level officials, especially from officials in charge. After the accident, we assessed the situation and reported to the leaders in the city Propaganda department. The branch chief flew back to Yancheng City from Beijing on the same day and came to Xiangshui County right away. He personally stayed in the Five Continent Hotel to lead the coordination work. The related comrades from the city’s News Coordination Team came to the accident scene on the afternoon of the accident day and participated in the reporters’ reception work until the work was almost done. The comrades from the Internet Section reported their findings quickly and helped to delete all the untruthful information on the Internet. Dai Yuanhu, the member of the city’s Standing Committee of the CCP, personally helped to arrange and coordinate the press conference-related work. On November 29, 2007, Zhou Dexiang, the chief of city CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department, personally led us to visit and report to Sun Zhijun, a member of Jiangsu Provincial Standing Committee of the CCP and chief of Jiangsu Provincial CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department, Zhou Shikang, the deputy chief of Jiangsu Provincial CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department, Liu Dehai, a member of Jiangsu Provincial CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department, Jin Weiqi, the chief of News Section of Jiangsu Provincial CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department, Zhou Feng, the chief of the Internet Section of Jiangsu Provincial CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department, Jian Ran, the director of the Xinhua News Agency Jiangsu Branch, and Li Can, the executive chief editor of the Xinhua News Agency Jiangsu Branch. On the second day, we also communicated with Xinhua Daily, Jiangsu Legal News, Jiangsu Economics News, and Jiangsu Internet Monitoring Section. The city CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department and News Coordination Team paid strong attention and gave strong support, which played a decisive role in the news coordination work.
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Search for the support from the media. The news coordination work gained sincere understanding and support from China County Economics News, Yangtse Evenings Post, Modern Express, and Jiangsu Legal News, etc. There were four batches of reporters from Jiangsu Legal News that came, however, after we talked to them, they showed their understanding and didn’t do any reporting. The chief of Jiangnan Times Yangcheng City Branch showed sympathy after listening to our situation; they went back on the same evening and did not report anything. China County Economics News Jiangsu Branch not only didn’t send any reporter, furthermore, but even helped the coordination work with other media.

Search for the support from people of different walks of life. We contacted the comrades who were originally from Xiangshui County and now work in media-related agencies at the night of the accident, reported the situation, and asked for their help to smoothen the situation with their personal relation. They helped to use the news release we provided and dissolved the news reporting on this accident. One comrade working in the State Council News Office helped us contact the Chinese Communist League’s secretary in charge of China Youth Daily, and requested to dissolve the news reporting on the accident and not to make a big deal. Zhou Lan, the chief of Sheyang County’s CCP Committee’s Propaganda Department also actively helped us to coordinate with the reporters from Xinhua News Agency.

On the afternoon of December 4, while attending the 5th anniversary celebration in Jiangsu Legal News Yangcheng City branch, we heard from a media friend that the CCTV’s “Focus Interview” program planned to come to Xiangshui County to interview on the “11.27” accident. We took this very seriously. On one hand, we reported this to the related leadership and prepared for how to deal with the matter; on the other hand, we immediately obtained the information on who was coming and his cell phone number along with his background, and pressured him through his agency. In the meantime, we quickly got in touch with the contact person with the reporter and met him in Guanyun County. We told him about the situation and asked him to communicate with the CCTV reporter and told them about the untruthful news materials and persuade him not to do the interview. Therefore, we prevented a major news event from happening.

Endnotes:
[1] Chinascope, January, 2, 2008
http://chinascope.org/main/content/view/472/108/
[2] Boxun, January 17, 2008
http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2008/01/200801172216.shtml
[3] Xiangshui County’s government website,
http://www.xsxcw.com/typenews.asp?id=220

Farmers Initiate Second Revolution in Land Ownership

In mid December 2007, three headlines appeared on overseas Chinese websites: “40,000 Heilongjiang Farmers’ Declare to the Whole Nation: Permanent and Full Land Ownership,” [1] “About 70,000 Sanmenxia Farmers Declare the Retaking of Land Ownership,” [2] “Jiangsu 250 Farm Families Declare to the Whole Nation: Permanent Ownership of Residence Bases.” [3]

At the time the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took power in 1949, China was practicing the same private land ownership commonly found in economic history. Land rights, including the rights to ownership, use, lease, transactions, mortgage, gift, and inheritance belonged to individuals. In 1956 the regime began the “Collectivization Movement” in rural China, using political power to centralize the land once distributed to farmers and to implement collective farming by force. Immediately after, [the CCP] speedily rolled out the “Communization Movement,” executing collective land ownership and abolishing private land ownership. From that point on, the government took over all land rights and all land.

Article 10 of the Chinese Constitution stipulates, “Rural lands are collectively owned, but the government can levy land taxes or confiscate lands by compensating the farmers.” From the 1980s until around 1992 and from 2003 onwards, a total of three land “enclosure movements” took place in China. Businessmen with government background looted the farmers’ land at extremely low prices in the name of “representing the country.” According to China Construction Bank, from the beginning of 2001 to May 2007, developers had purchased 2.2 billion square meters (23.7 billion square feet) of land with only 1.296 billion square meters actually developed. About 1 billion square meters of land still remained in the hands of developers, enough to supply the whole country’s real estate market for five years. According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, in 2005 there were over 40 million farmers who had lost their land. Over the next five years, as urbanization continues to increase, an additional annual average of 2.65 million Chinese farmers will lose their land over the next five years. According to the Whole Country Land Utilization Planning Outline compiled by the State Council, during the thirty years from 2000 to 2030, 54.50 million mu (8.98 million acres) of farming land will be taken for construction. It’s estimated that with every mu of farm land taken, 1.5 farmers will lose their livelihood. This suggests that China’s “land-losing farmers” will increase from 40 million some years in the past to 110 million in 2030.

In 2007, China’s National People’s Congress passed the Property Rights Law. The law is intended to protect private property. The new law, however, did not make a dent in the current land policy. Even less did it break through the systemic limitations of Chinese socialism. On December 13, 2007, the police gave a criminal detention notice to the family of a civil rights representative who had been helping  Fujin farmers who had lost their land. The police gave a criminal detention notice to Yu Changwu. Representatives for the arrested farmers in Shanxi’s Sanmenxia Reservoir District, Chen Sizhong and Xi Xinji, are under criminal detention. Their arrests have been “formalized” by the Huayin Municipal Procuratorate.
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Below is a translation of the Heilongjiang and Sanmenxia Resevoir farmers’ declarations.

Notice of Dongnangang Village, Fujin City, Heilongjiang Province 72 villages, 40,000 Heilongjiang Farmers’ Declare to the Whole Nation: Permanent and Full Land Ownership [1]

We are 40,000 farmers in a total of 10 townships’ 72 administrative villages including Changan Township, Xinglong Townships, and Toulin Tonwship in Fujin City, Heilongjiang Province. In response to Fujin officials at various levels using the need for development of the country as an excuse to forcibly take 1.5 million mu (0.25 million acres) of farmland and wilderness since 1994, we declare our ownership rights as follows:

1. We, 40,000 farmers in 72 administrative villages, have ownership rights to the 1.5 million mu of land. With villages as the boundaries and farm families as the units, the originally occupied collective land [will] all be distributed equally among the whole body of villagers.

2. A farm family’s land ownership rights include the right to use, the right to earn, the right to inherit, , and the to negotiate and the right to set prices when the government or developers want to take the land for development.

3. Over 900 villagers from Dongnangang Village, Changan Township took the lead in taking back 996 shuang (about 15,000 mu) of occupied land, and have already distributed it evenly among the whole body of villagers. Before doing so, they dismissed the former head of the village, who had colluded with officials who encroached on the farmers’ collective interest. All other villages will follow this method in succession to regain and evenly distribute the occupied land in each village. Every villagers’ committee and all other self-governing organizations elected by villagers have the responsibility to support the farmers on this proposal [of land-ownership], have the responsibility to organize and lead the entire body of villagers to take back the occupied land that originally collectively belonged to the villagers, and have the responsibility to distribute the land according to the principal of individual equity. [When] encountering collusion between officials and businessmen or forcible requisitions, every villagers’ committee and [every] self-governing organization has the obligation to organize [a] village militia to defend to the death the farmers’ land ownership rights.

4. The CCP’s organizations at various levels and the government at various levels should, in accordance with the revolutionary ideal and the promise of ‘land to the tillers’ in those years, lead the farmers to land reform, like in the early stage of reformation, support the farmers’ land operation rights, respect farmers’ pioneering spirit, and support and protect farmers’ various land rights. The Central Committee of the Party has, for many years, cared about the countryside, cared about why the farmer’s preferential policies were never implemented, and why farmers’ circumstances can never undergo a substantial change. The root [of the problem] is “favor but no implementation.” Completely give the land to the farmers—only then can [this] be the most effective and the most realistic preferential policy. Currently China’s countryside is still fundamentally unsuited for collective operation. When the time is appropriate and when it’s necessary, we, the farmers, will self-organize a collective operation.
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5. Collective land in the countryside should belong to the whole body of villagers who form the collective. Farmers have the right to decide together on the form of land ownership. For a long time, the so-called collective ownership, in reality, denied the rights of the farmers as land owners. Various levels of the Fujin municipal government have repeatedly and wantonly occupied and privately possessed farmers’ land in the name of the country and the collective. In reality, [they] have become the ‘landowners.’ But the farmers—the real owners of the land—have been forced to become serfs who toil for the ‘landowners’’ land. Together we decided to change this kind of land ownership. Through ownership by farm families and farm individuals, we truly implement and protect the status of farmers as land owners.

6. We believe, just like at the beginning stage of reformation and opening up—where farmers owned the right to operate the land, great changes took place in the countryside—farmers’ land-ownership rights won by farmers will create even greater changes in the countryside. We, farmers, have suffered enough from pillage, suppression, and the fate of having no help from the heaven and earth. Now we believe that only when farmers directly practice [their] rights, will farmers have rights, and will farmers’ human rights improve.

Land is a farmers’ life; it is the farmers’ greatest human right. [Only when farmers] truly have land-owning rights, can we farmers settle down and get on with our lives, can Chinese farmers settle down and get on with their lives, can the entire country settle down and move on.

December 8, 2007

In Shanxi Province Former Yellow River about 70,000 Sanmenxia Farmers Declare They are Regaining Land Ownership [2]

We are about 70,000 returning farmers [from] 76 administrative villages of Dali County, Huayin City, and Tongguan County. [When] the country built the Sanmenxia Reservoir in the 1950’s, [it] occupied a total of 800,000 mu of our farm land. Through 30 years of blood-and-tears resistance by tens of thousands of migrants, who were forced to leave home, in the 1980s, the State Council appropriated 300,000 mu of land to settle returning migrants. In actuality, the migrants were only given 150,000 mu. Another 150,000 mu of farm land belonging to the farmers as clearly stipulated by the State Council directive, was directly taken by Weinan City and Sanmenxia County officials at various levels, or has been taken in actuality under various names and used by those seeking their own economic interests. Annual land rental alone amounts to 40 to 60 million yuan. Heretofore, close to 120,000 of the 150,000 mu of occupied land has already disappeared from the reported statistics. This is to say that not only have the officials used various means to actually occupy the land, they have also been brazenly swallowed the land. Large and small modern-day “landlords” have appeared in the Reservoir District. For us migrants, the actual average cultivation land is less than 2 mu (0.33 acres) per person. In order to make a living, [we] are forced to pay officials high rent to farm the land that originally belonged to us. Several decades of appeals hasn’t solved [the problem], the procedures stipulated by the law hasn’t solved [the problem.] {mospagebreak}
We, approximately 70,000 Sanmenxia County farmers, now together decide to take back our right to land ownership, and announce the following to the entire country (each of the undersigned is a family representative):

1. Every family of ours has permanent ownership rights to the individually contracted land [in the] total of 150,000 mu originally in the village collective. Land allocation and usage belong to our offspring. We have the right to use, rent, inherit [the land]; if someone wants to develop, rent or occupy [the land], please negotiate with us directly. We only recognize [those] governmental planning agencies that are in accordance with the public interest and [those] taxes stipulated by the law.

2. Every family of ours also has permanent ownership rights to the 150,000 mu of land that were appropriated back to the farmers by the State Council but which have long been occupied and privately possessed by officials at various levels. We will organize together, and directly give back [the land] to each family for permanent ownership according to average farmer acreage, [and] end the many years of illegal occupation and possession of land by officials from various levels.

3. We abandon the original ‘village collective’ form of land ownership. This kind of land [ownership] cannot guarantee farmers’ permanent rights to the land. This kind of ‘village collective’ often cannot accurately reflect the consensus of the entire village of farmers, cannot stop officials and the black force’s illegal infringement of the land [rights] and on other farmers’ interests. Every village committee shall assume the responsibility of protecting farmers’ land rights, and cannot place [its will] above the whole body of farmers, or occupy or allocate land.

4. As to the billions of various migrant fees annually appropriated by the country for the past several decades, we also need to square the account. What belongs to the farmers must be given to the farmers. [We] will also pursue the related illegal behavior, such as corruption, embezzlement, occupation, etc.

5. We have land ownership rights. If, in addition, we can run enterprises in education and health care sector, the three new ‘mountains’ on top of the farmers will be removed. The farmers’ social security will basically be taken care of by itself. In recent years, the Central Committee of the Party has given farmers some economic sops. We believe only farmers’ land rights and entrepreneurial rights are big economic favors. [Only then] can the countryside’s problems be solved from the root, can farmers be equal to the city dwellers, and can [they] participate and share the fruits of modernization. [Only then] can villagers’ self-governing elections [that has been instituted] for the past twenty years truly be decent.
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6. We, in the countryside, are very clear: No matter what laws and what policies the government uses, it will be very difficult to manage the land. [If] land rights are again returned into the hands of farmers, those bad forces blinded by greed won’t dare to act recklessly. Because [what] you’ll be occupying, will no longer be collective land. It will be my land, my life root. I’ll risk my life. When the power of the farmers is mobilized, the government will be free from the burden to protect the land. Base level government will then rely on industrial and farming taxes to maintain operation. [It] can no longer depend on taking farmers’ land and engaging in the so-called ‘land finance.’

We, the Reservoir District farmers, send regards to the entire country’s people!

December 12, 2007

End Notes:
[1] Boxun.com, December 9, 2007
http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/china/2007/12/200712091236.shtml
[2] Canyu.org, December 12, 2007
http://www.canyu.org/n208c6.aspx
[3] Aboluo Web, December 15, 2007
http://www.aboluowang.com/news/data/2007/1215/article_36721.html

Shanghai Petitioner Files Lawsuit against Zhou Yongkang

In September 2007, the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court formally accepted charges filed by Shanghai petitioner Tong Guojing against the former Minister of Public Security, Zhou Yongkang. On October 16, the second day of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) National Congress, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) sent a formal reply to Tong. While filing a petition in Beijing in 2005, Tong had been beaten by officials from Beijing’s Shanghai Liaison Office. After responding with an unsuccessful complaint to Beijing’s Public Security Bureau, Tong brought the case to the attention of higher authorities. On September 18, 2006, Tong filed a lawsuit with the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court. After one year’s delay, the court accepted his administrative complaint on September 20, 2007, charging Minister Zhou for administrative inaction. This has become a landmark case involving an average Chinese citizen suing a high-level official and has been accepted by a Chinese court previously infamous for lack of judicial independence. The Epoch Times, a US-based weekly newspaper, published several reports on this groundbreaking course of action.

From Epoch Times on October 31, 2007 [1]
“In March of 1990, Tong Guojing’s home was illegally occupied. Not long after moving into temporary housing, he was forced to leave after this temporary home was demolished. In 2003, Tong traveled to Beijing to petition for his case. After being intercepted and beaten many times, Tong began teaching himself law in order to defend his rights.

On December 28, 2005, Tong was dining with a few petitioners in a restaurant near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square when officials from the Shanghai Liaison Office rushed in and beat them. The petitioners called Beijing Public Security Branch for protection but the Public Security Branch refused to take a report, neither documenting any injuries nor taking record of any witness accounts of the incident.”

“Tong complained to public security multiple times about this negligence but his petitions were ignored. In the end, he brought his petition to the Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court.

“Normally the court is required to reply within 7 days regarding acceptance or rejection of the case, but it took one full year and Tong’s 8 visits for the court to formally decide to accept the case, labeled case number 585, on September 20, 2007. Tong received an official response from the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) on October 16 and expected a court hearing to follow quickly.”

“Shanghai human rights lawyer Zheng Encong found the court’s decision encouraging, and said that this marks a victory in the history of petitioners defending their own rights. Zheng said that this case presented an opportunity for Shanghai petitioners to legally safeguard their own rights. If their rights were violated, they could sue the local Public Security Bureau and even sue the Ministry of Public Security. He did not rule out the possibility that this could initiate a chain reaction in the form of a new wave of lawsuits from petitioners.
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He said that Zhou Yongkang should be punished for not fulfilling his responsibility as the Minister. ‘He has the responsibility to protect the safety of petitioners. MPS was funded by taxpayer’s money but failed to fulfill its responsibility.’

Zheng indicated that he had already accepted Tong Guojing’s invitation to be his defense lawyer, preparing for the upcoming hearing in the Beijing court. He feels that whether he can make it to Beijing will be a test of the Party’s progress on democratization.”

“A member of CCP’s Standing Committee of the Politburo, Zhou is Jiang Zemin’s nephew-in-law. Zhou’s current position is Secretary of the Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs (CPLA) of the CCP’s Central Committee. He was formerly Minister of Public Security and First Political Commissar of the Armed Police. As the head of the CCP system’s judicial branch, Zhou is commonly known as ‘da liu mang‘ [2], or ‘chief gangster,’ by the people. [3] 

During Zhou’s leadership of the MPS, public security continued to deteriorate with annual crime rates burgeoning at 17% – 22%. The assessment by the general public is that the MPS is ‘jing fei yi jia’ [4] , ‘a police force colluded with bandits.’ Zhou made an all-out effort to carry out Jiang’s genocidal policy toward the Falun Gong, claiming that ‘harshly cracking down on Falun Gong is the major focus of MPS.’

Zhou worked as the party chief of Sichuan province for many years. Because of that, Sichuan, a 100-million-population province, became a province that persecuted Falun Gong most severely.”

From Epoch Times on November 2, 2007 [5]

“Beijing human rights activist Hu Jia considered the court’s decision unbelievable. Hu said that: ‘we all knew the hidden rules of China’s legal system. CPLA (Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs) is the de facto big brother of China’s underworld society. Zhou is the head of the CPLA and former Minister of Public Security. The President of the Supreme People’s Court and the Procurator-General of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate must report to Zhou. With such power, Zhou is fully capable of controlling all lawsuits in China.

Hu added, ‘This shows that the court has support from a political force above the CPLA. The force may be seeking judicial independence from the CCP or taking advantage of this case to attack Zhou.’”

“Li Tianxiao, a Political Science Ph.D. from Columbia University, said that even though Hu Jintao gained greater authority after the CCP’s 17th National Congress, he is still under threat from Jiang’s faction, as Jiang will tightly cling to power for fear of being punished for the crimes he has committed. Hu should know that only by openly exposing and criticizing Jiang’s crimes can he rid himself of the threats.
{mospagebreak}
Li believed that Hu is attacking Jiang mainly from three levels: the top leadership, the local government, and the political system. On the local governmental level, the attacks started from the corruption case of Zhou Zhengyi and extended to the investigation of Jiang Mianheng, son of Jiang Zemin. Within the political system, Hu accepted the open letter written by Wang Zhaojun, and launched waves of criticism against Jiang by party cadres.

Li said, ‘From the central leadership, the greatest threat to Hu is the CPLA, which directly governs the Armed Police and Public Security. Zhou is a prime culprit in the persecution of Falun Gong and is notorious for bad deeds from his previous positions. No one except for Jiang himself supports him.  Consequently, Hu already aims to gain support from other officials by making Zhou the first target of attack.’

Li added that this case was accepted in September with Zhou as the clear target. On one hand, this serves as Hu’s frontal attack to deter Zhou from entering the Standing Committee of the Politburo; on the other hand, by disallowing the new Minister of Public Security from entering the Politburo and the CCP’s Secretariat of the Central Committee, Hu weakens the powers of the MPS and of Zhou.”

“Political commentator Wu Fan indicated that the case against Zhou Yongkang sends a clear signal of the rivalry between Hu and Jiang inside of the CCP’s high-level leadership. This also shows that Hu is speeding up his attack on Jiang while trying to separate himself from Jiang’s persecution of Falun Gong in preparation for further political moves.
 
On October 28, Meng Jianzhu replaced Zhou Yongkang as the new Minister of Public Security and as secretary of the CCP committee of the MPS.  The minister of the CCP’s Central Organization Department, Li Yuanchao, ‘commended’ the former Secretary of the CPLA, Luo Gan, along with former Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang for ‘strictly guarding against’ and ‘severely attacking’ Falun Gong. These remarks underscore Luo and Zhou’s direct responsibility for the persecution of Falun Gong.

Wu Fan indicated that Hu’s attack on Jiang is systematic and well planned. There is an internal connection between three events: Li Yuanchao’s speech establishing the incriminating facts regarding Zhou, the petitioner’s case against Zhou which has gained acceptance into legal proceedings, and the open letter by Wang Zhaojun appealing for political reform and an ending of the persecution of Falun Gong,”

Endnotes:
[1] The Epoch Times, October 31, 2007,
http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/7/10/31/n1885372.htm
[2] The chief justice of the supreme court of China needs also to report to Zhou Yongkang, because all Chinese government officials must report to Communist Party officials.
[3] 大流氓, pronounced da4 liu2 mang2.
[4] 警匪一家, pronounced jing3 fei3 yi1 jia1.
[5] The Epoch Times, November 2, 2007
http://epochtimes.com/gb/7/11/2/n1888430.htm

The History and Developing Trend on China’s Air Defense Missile System

The growth of China’s aerospace military in 2007 was astonishing, and at the same time, worrisome to some countries. Last year, Beijing sent ballistic missiles to destroy an aged meteorological satellite and launched their first lunar probe, the Chang’e 1. At the same time, China was planning to link up with Russia to explore Mars. Recently the Commission of Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND) has released news that China plans to launch 15 rockets, 17 satellites, and one manned spaceflight in 2008.

On December 12, 2007, Outlook Weekly, an economic and political weekly magazine run by the Xinhua News Agency, published an article titled “The Developing Trend of China’s Air Defense Missile System.” The author, Liu Erqi, is the chief of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) committee from the Second Research Institute of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp. The following are translated excerpts of his article. [1]
“Under strict attention from the Party and national leaders, China’s air defense missile system has gone through 50 years of difficult struggle. The Second Research Institute has grown out of the Fifth Research Institute under the Ministry of Defense, with additional experts from other civil and military agencies. The institute is primarily responsible for developing the air defense missile systems. The early technologies were introduced and replicated from the former Soviet Union. Since then, the institute has developed a missile defense system based on its own design, along with learning from other countries’ research results. … Up to the 1990s, the system had developed into a multiple air defense missile weapon system, including three altitudes (high, medium, and low altitude) and four series (medium-to-high altitude, low-to-medium altitude, ultra low-to-low altitude, and portable) of air defense missile weapon systems.

“Currently, the R&D department of the institute is actively upgrading the missile weapons, as well as perfecting the weapon system in long, intermediate, and short ranges. Long range refers to 250 km and above; intermediate range refers to 50 km to 200 km; short range refers to 30 km and below. They are paving the road for developing a digital air defense network.”

“The fist generation air defense missiles, Hongqi No. 1 and No. 2, had the capability of medium-to-high altitude targets. We also developed Hongqi No. 61 that targets low-to-medium objects and Hongying No. 5 portable missiles.”

“In the 1970s, China started to develop its second-generation air defense missile system, while other countries already started R&D for third-generation air defense missile systems. Therefore, our product was a combination of the second- and third-generation from the technological point of view. It is more appropriate to call it a post-second-generation air defense missile system.

“The main characteristics of the second-generation technology include low-altitude capability, small-sized missiles and systems, solidified missile propulsion system, mini-sized electronic devices, and decreased vehicular needs for carrying the weapons.
{mospagebreak}
“The main characteristics of the third-generation technology include anti-guidance air defense systems, improved anti-interference capability, further smaller-sized missiles, multi-target capability, and a multi-weapon coordination system.

“Upon borrowing the technologies used for the Patriot-1, SA-10, Javelin, and Crotale missiles from the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France, China developed Qianwei portable missiles, and FM-80 and FM-90 low-altitude short-range missiles. After that, we developed the third-generation medium-to-high altitude, intermediate-and-long-range air defense missile FD-2000.

“It was worthwhile to mention that in the 1980s, the Taiwan area of China, under the help of the United States, developed the Tiangong No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 air defense missiles modeled from the Patriot missiles of the United States.”

“The air defense missile system was only one type of weapon to protect the China’s air space. Other important directions for developing air defense weapons include guided air-defense artillery shells and laser weapons.”

Endnote:
[1] Outlook Weekly Article: The Developing Trend of China’s Air Defense Missile System, December, 12, 2007
http://news.sohu.com/20071212/n254000272.shtml

The Media Pays Attention to Human Rights at the Doorstep of the Beijing Olympics

During the months before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the media is paying attention to China’s human rights. On December 27, 2007, the Beijing Public Securities Department arrested Hu Jia, a respected AIDS activist and human rights defender on the charge of “inciting the subversion of state power.” Hu’s wife and their newly born baby are under house arrest. Intellectuals and human rights defenders in China co-signed an open letter to urge the authorities to release Hu. The non-governmental organization for freedom of the press, Reporters Without Borders in France issued a statement condemning the Chinese government for violating its commitment to be open to the foreign media for the Olympics, and for obstructing lawyers from visiting and supplying legal aid to Hu and his family.

From Voice of America, January 8, 2008 [1]

“A large number of Chinese intellectuals and human rights defenders issued a statement urging the release of human rights attorney Hu Jia, who the Beijing Public Securities Department arrested on December 27, 2007, for “inciting the subversion of state power.” Hu Jia’s lawyer and other Beijing’s human rights attorneys expressed that Hu indeed talked about many human rights problems in China, but that did not mean he should be suspected of ‘inciting the subversion of state power.’”

“On Monday, more than 60 scholars, intellectuals and human rights advocates, including Liu Xiaobo, Zhang Zuhua, Ai Xiaoming, Wang Lixiong and Wei Se, co-signed a statement urging the authorities to release Hu Jia as soon as possible. These intellectuals and scholars call for people inside and outside of China to pay attention to Hu Jia’s personal health and his family’s predicament. The statement also called for the international community and all circles within China to pay close attention both to China’s human rights stance and to whether the Chinese government fulfilled its promise made when it bid for the Olympic Games: to improve human rights.”

From Radio Free Asia, January 11, 2008, [2]

“While the arrest of Hu Jia attracts widespread attention from China and overseas, the Beijing authorities tightly block the relevant information. On Friday, a UK TV broadcaster, Channel 4, went to Hu Jia’s home in Beijing and managed to interview his wife, Zeng Jinyan, through a barred window for a few minutes on tape. The reporter, Lindsey Hilsum, told RFA: ‘She (Zeng Jinyan) appeared at the window when we arrived. I asked about her current situation, what happened when Hu Jia was arrested on January 27, and whether she had any resources for living. That’s basically it.’

“Jinyan, under house arrest with her new-born baby, faced the camera and said the police had cut her telephone line, and took her computer, mobile phone and bank card. Her mother is able to go and buy food, but they’re running out of cash. Friends who try to bring things for the baby are blocked from giving them to her.”

“To protect their video clips, the TV crew quickly left before the police arrived. They attempted to go to Hu’s home on Thursday, but the police wouldn’t allow it, using the excuse that it was an ongoing criminal investigation. Hilsum said, ‘When we visited yesterday, they had a security line marked around the apartment compound. The police said that there was a criminal case being investigated inside and nobody was allowed to enter. Therefore today we approached the building from the side.”

“Not only do the authorities block the overseas media, but two attorneys Li Jingsong and Li Fangping were prohibited from conducting their interview with Zeng Jinyan, which had been scheduled for Friday.

“It was learned that on Thursday, the authorities placed Li Jinsong under house arrest for several hours  in order to conduct “recommendations and communication.” When reporters inquired, the lawyer was, for the time being, unwilling to say much.  

Headquartered in Paris, France, Reporters Without Borders issued a second statement on Friday to condemn the Chinese government’s violation of its commitment to be open to foreign media for the Olympics, and its obstruction of lawyers’ visits and legal aid to Hu’s family.”
{mospagebreak}
On January 1, 2008, more than 10,000 Chinese citizens publicized an open letter appealing for the Chinese government’s ratification of the “International Convention on Civil Rights and Political Rights” before the Olympics. Here is a report on this issue from Voice of America, January 1, 2008. [3]
“Co-signed by more than 14,000 professors and lawyers, the open letter stated that as all eyes are turning to the Beijing Olympics, the government’s ratification of the ‘International Convention on Civil Rights and Political Rights’ will win the world’s respect and glory for China.

“The open letter said that by hosting the Olympics, China should show not only the numbers of gold medals, but also the ‘the determination to fulfill its commitment to respect and defend human rights.’

“Although China signed the ‘International Convention on Civil Rights and Political Rights’ in 1998, China’s National People’s Congress has yet to ratify the Convention.

“The open letter urges the State Council to bring up the agenda to the People’s Congress to be in session in March 2008, so that the Convention will be unconditionally ratified before the Olympics.”

“Xia Yeliang, a co-signor of the letter and Peking University Economics Professor, said that the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party’s report emphasized administrative reform, and some democratic elections within the party or grass-roots democratic elections. However, if the reform does not touch the fundamental political system, or restructure the political and legal framework, there is no way for the Chinese people to truly obtain political freedom and rights.

“One of the initiators of the open letter, Beijing’s human rights defender and lawyer Teng Biao stated, ‘One of my personal concerns is that, when the Chinese government ratifies the Convention, it will refuse to take the concrete steps required by the convention to achieve systemic reform. Like many other conventions, the Chinese government may approved it, but never implement it.”

Endnotes:
1. VOA News, January 8, 2008
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2008-01-08-voa21.cfm
2. RFA, January 11, 2008
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/shenrubaodao/2008/01/11/hu/
3. VOA News, January 1, 2008
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2008-01-01-voa16.cfm

On Belarus and China

Economic and trade cooperation between Belarus and China has been strengthening, as Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko welcomes massive foreign direct investment from China. Analysts believe that Belarus needs capital from China to assuage current difficulties accompanying increased prices on oil imports from Russia. Belarus under Alexander Lukashenko remains a Soviet-style planned economy. For a sense of hope, Belarus is looking to the China model, a highly centralized political system together with an economy marked by high growth. At the same time, the two countries are building closer military collaboration.

Report from Voice of America on January 9, 2008: [1]
“President Lukashenko of Belarus said on Wednesday that huge potential exists for collaboration with China in areas of the economy, trade, and investment and that Belarus will create the best conditions to welcome investment from China. He added that his country has felt enormous interest from Chinese investors in the Belarusian economy, and that there will be not be a single obstacle to Chinese investment. Lukashenko gave the above speech when meeting with Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China’s central bank. President Lukashenko also thanked China for providing support and help. He said that Belarus will become a real fortress for China in Europe. Lukashenko stressed that RMB has become the foreign exchange reserve currency at Belarus’ central bank.

“Russian media reported that after Putin’s government significantly raised the export price of oil and eliminated economic subsidies to Belarus, Belarus has been facing a series of problems. This has lead Lukashenko to actively cooperate with China, Iran, and Venezuela, so as to obtain more resources to procure energy from Russia. Therefore, high-level Chinese official visits are always welcomed and are conducted in a high-profile fashion.

“Former President of Belarus Stanislav Shushkevich criticized Lukashenko for not conducting economic reform and allowing the economy to remain as a Soviet-style planned economy. He added, ‘the leadership of Belarus governs the country as a farmer on collective farms. For many years, the economy is heavily dependent upon cheap energy from Russia. Lukashenko is bringing the whole country to a dead end with an anti-market economic policy.’”

Report from Voice of America on October 26, 2006: [2]

“China and Belarus have been increasing their military cooperation. Belarusian President Lukashenko recently expressed that arms trade between the two countries is very important. On cooperation in military technologies, Belarus signed 210 agreements or contracts with China, with 190 of them implemented. According to the Defense Ministry of Belarus, the size of the bilateral arms trade amounts to 250 million U.S. dollars over the past 10 years. The figure, although very small compared to the arms trade between China and Russia, is very important to Belarus.”
{mospagebreak}
“In mid-September, Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan led a large delegation to Belarus. Cao was treated with a high standard of hospitality. President Lukashenko issued a ‘People’s Friendship Medal’ to Cao, complimenting his outstanding contributions in supporting the sharing of military technology between the two countries. During the four-day visit, Belarus displayed for the Chinese delegation everything they wanted to see, including newly developed weaponry. A large group of Chinese experts are also part of the China delegation to Belarus. This is a sign that the two sides are discussing details of arms trade deals. According to Belarusian Defense Minister Leonid Maltsev, Belarus has submitted a package of plans for implementing this military and technological cooperation. Once the China side has responded, the plans can be carried out before the end of next year.”

“Military experts believe that Belarus is more proactive than China on the issue of arms trade.”

“Russian media reported that Belarus is promoting a newly developed super short range air-defense missile system which is used to attack precision cruise missiles in their last leg of flight. … Additionally, the Chinese military is also interested in Belarus’ mobile radar system, automatic power control system, etc.”

“Belarus hopes to alleviate its isolated predicament on the international stage by sharing China’s military technology. The Lukashenko regime is deemed as the last dictatorship on the European continent. The United States and the European Union are imposing various sanctions against Belarus while its key ally, Russia, has recently pressured Lukashenko for political and economic benefits. Under the current situation, Lukashenko announced China as its primary foreign policy target in his spring State of the Union message, delivered earlier this year. He complimented China for supporting Belarus on many issues.”

“During Lukashenko’s visit to China at the end of last year, the two countries agreed to set up a bilateral military equipment and technology coordination commission. The two sides also decided to strengthen cooperation and exchange in military science and technology, including joint R&D on weaponry. At present, dozens of People’s Liberation Army officers are accepting advanced training in Belarus.”

Endnotes:
[1] Voice of America, January 9, 2008
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/w2008-01-09-voa42.cfm
[2] Voice of America, October 26, 2006
http://www.voanews.com/chinese/archive/2006-10/w2006-10-26-voa35.cfm

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